Best Halal Dining Options For The Festivities And Beyond
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From all-you-can-eat buffets to an elegant fete fit for royalty
By Samantha Francis; Cover Photo: Katong Kitchen
During Hari Raya Aidilfitri, our Muslim friends will mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. To celebrate with them, we’ve rounded up the best places to visit for a delicious, communal feast.
From all-you-can-eat buffets to an elegant fete fit for royalty, these dining establishments will not disappoint.
Straits Kitchen – Theatrical Showcase Of Local Favourites
The satay, fresh off the grill at Straits Kitchen, is beautifully charred and flavourful. (Photo: Straits Kitchen)
Simply put, Straits Kitchen is a theatrical showcase of local cuisine in an elegant setting. Coupled with the usual bells and whistles of a buffet, the restaurant prides itself on ambience as much as its culinary excellence.
Set in a handsome, 260-seater space graced by dark timber interiors, diners can expect masterpieces of the culinary sort, with Chinese, Indian and Malay specialities headlining the menu.
Wander up to each halal-certified show kitchen and watch as the chefs whip up dishes like Stingray in Banana Leaf, Otak Otak, assorted Satay and Ayam Bakar (grilled chicken).
The satay, fresh off the grill, was beautifully charred and flavourful, while the Nasi Goreng (Malay mixed rice) had a fragrant wok hei to it. Other dishes worth trying include Indian curries, Naan, Roti Prata (fried pancake) and the impeccable Hong Kong-style roasts.
Appetites are bound to be whet by the aromas from the tandoor ovens and woks, where all orders are prepared à la minute for your dining pleasure.
To conclude your feast, wash it all down with a glass of frothy and silky smooth hand-pulled Teh Tarik (hot milk tea).
Buffet lunch starts from $52 inclusive of free-flow chilled juices, coffee and tea.
Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road, Lobby Level.
Katong Kitchen – A Peranakan Buffet Fiesta
The halal-certified Katong Kitchen is an ideal spot for families to commune over iconic Peranakan favourites. (Photo: Katong Kitchen)
Nestled in the historic Katong and Joo Chiat district — also the original home of the Straits Chinese — Katong Kitchen is famed for its honest-to-goodness Peranakan fare.
The halal-certified buffet restaurant is an ideal spot for families to commune over traditional favourites like Ayam Buah Keluak, Ayam Pangang, Beef Rendang, Durian Pengat and Chempadak Crème Brûlée.
The Ayam Buah Keluak features tender chunks of chicken and buah keluak — a fruit that is often referred to as the Asian equivalent of black truffles. Dressed in thick and tangy gravy, it is bound to satisfy even the most demanding matriarch.
Another dish worth every calorie is the Sup Kambing, where tender lamb ribs are served in a rich and savoury broth, peppered with spices like cumin powder, star anise and turmeric powder.
When you’ve had your fill of Straits Chinese cuisine, turn your attention to the spread of Macanese, Asian, local Chinese and modern Western dishes, and don’t forget to save space for the sweet treats.
Sweet endings come in the form of Durian Pengat, filled with creamy and luscious durian puree prepared daily with fresh durian flesh.
Village Hotel Katong, 25 Marine Parade, Level 4.
Mamanda – Malay Cuisine Fit For Royalty
Served platter-style, Mamanda’s Nasi Ambeng encourages togetherness and family bonding. (Photo: Mamanda)
Named after the respectful term used by the Sultan on state dignitaries and ministers, Mamanda is a hallmark of cultural refinement and authentic Malay cuisine. The heritage restaurant, situated next to Istana Kampong Glam, is inspired by the history of the area as a melting pot of Nusantara (Malay Archipelago) cuisine.
What this translates to, culinary-wise, is exquisite Malay cuisine that emphasises texture, colour, high quality ingredients and aroma.
Diners can expect to find signature dishes like the Nasi Ambeng, a fragrant rice dish prepared with chicken cooked in coconut milk, mixed vegetables, potato cutlet, salted fish, fried coconut flesh, beef rendang, sambal prawns and sambal fish.
Served platter-style, the dish encourages togetherness and family bonding. According to the restaurant, their Nasi Ambeng is so popular, a diner once requested to takeaway the dish for his flight back to London.
Other delectable dishes include the Rendang, which is rich in spice and tender in texture, as well as the Assam Pedas, a dish of red snapper fish that has been tempered with a mix of ground spices including galangal and turmeric leaves.
73 Sultan Gate.
Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering Pte Ltd – Kampong Style Malay Delights
The Tahu Telur from Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering Pte Ltd is a simply executed yet comforting dish. (Photo: Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering Pte Ltd)
Established in 1992, Hjh Maimunah Restaurant & Catering Pte Ltd is a household name in the local Malay community and an enduring favourite for its homely, kampong-style cuisine.
Helmed by Hajjah Maimunah and her daughter Mahiran, the dining establishment is a reflection of Hajjah’s journeys in leading pilgrimages to the Muslim holy city, Mecca, and cooking for her fellow pilgrims.
Her cooking philosophy can best be described as an austere pursuit of quality ingredients and authenticity, which she imparts in her repertoire of Malay and Indonesian cuisine.
The main draw for many patrons is Lemak Siput Sedut (long tail shellfish in spicy coconut stew), a flavourful dish that requires tedious preparation, and tastes like a cross between mussels and cockles.
Fans of Indonesian cuisine will agree with the best seller Ayam Bakar Sunda (Sudanese grilled chicken), made with a special recipe where the chicken is first pre-cooked in a savoury spice marinade to retain its moisture before being grilled over charcoal fire for a crisp and smoky exterior. Finally, it is served with a spicy-sweet Indonesian soya sauce.
Another favourite is the Tahu Telur (fried tofu and egg mix adorned with sliced vegetables and grated peanuts), a simply executed yet comforting dish.
27 Joo Chiat Road.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 156, July 8 – July 21, 2016, with the headline ‘A Feast For The Senses’.